Race Inquiry Digest (December 13) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – Ryan Speedo Green: From juvenile delinquency to opera stardom. After a childhood of anger and violence, the 32-year-old now commands the stage around the world. Scott Pelley / 60 Minutes

As a 12-year-old in Virginia, Ryan Speedo Green was the author of an impressive rap sheet. He was so violent he was banished to a class for delinquents. And when he couldn’t be contained there, he was sent to a juvenile lockup. Those who knew the boy with the unusual name, could see that the child was writing a tragedy. Now, as a man, tragedy has become the dominant theme in his life, but in a way that no one could have imagined. Watch video here Also see,  “The Art of Asking Why: A School Administrator’s Guidebook for Combating the School-to-Prison Pipeline.” 

How activists are fighting racial disparities in school discipline. Mark R. Warren / The Conversation

Harsh and racially disparate discipline practices are widespread in America’s schools. Not so long ago in Texas, for instance, 75 percent of black students had been suspended at some point in high school. For black males in Texas, 83 percent were suspended. Read more

I’m for Affirmative Action. Can You Change My Mind? Gary Gutting / NYT

Affirmative action for minorities in college admissions is once again under serious challenge. I have a rational argument for my position. But I want to hear yours. Read more

The overlooked heroes of the civil rights movement. Remembering Howard Thurman and other forgotten activists. David B. Gowler / Wash Post

Although Thurman was a nationally and internationally recognized figure during his lifetime, today, if remembered at all, he is known as a mentor to Dr. King, including his likely influence on King’s merging the religion of Jesus with Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance. Read more

Lorraine Hansberry, American radical: She pushed RFK to make “a moral commitment” on civil rights. Imani Perry / Salon

A close look at Hansberry and James Baldwin’s famous 1963 meeting with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Jimmy wrote more than once about this meeting. In each ac­count, Lorraine was magnificent. But just as she was at once tower­ing and childlike, she was both mighty and vulnerable. Read more

Confederate plaque removed from W. Virginia county courthouse following vote. Joe Heim / Wash Post

In August 2017, six African American women in their 60s and 70s who live nearby petitioned the county commission to remove the small plaque. The women said the tribute shouldn’t be posted on a public building, much less the county courthouse, which was the site of auctions of enslaved people before the Civil War. Read more

Absentee-ballot fraud scandal speaks to wider issue of racism in North Carolina. Khushbu Shah / The Guardian

Usually fights over voter suppression involve complex arguments over voter ID laws, how to register street addresses or disenfranchising felons. But the apparently brazen “harvesting” of ballots which then disappear without being counted has stunned many in the district and left them shaken. Read more

Minneapolis Confronts Its History of Housing Segregation. Henry Grabar / Slate

By doing away with single-family zoning, the city takes on high rent, long commutes, and racism in real estate in one fell swoop. On Friday, the City Council passed Minneapolis 2040, a comprehensive plan to permit three-family homes in the city’s residential neighborhoods, abolish parking minimums for all new construction, and allow high-density buildings along transit corridors. Read more

Beto O’Rourke sounding out prominent black Democrats as he ponders presidential bid. Garrett Haake and Mike Memoli / NBC News

Beto O’Rourke hasn’t made up his mind about a possible presidential run in 2020, but behind the scenes he’s speaking to potential kingmakers among a constituency whose support he’ll need in a Democratic primary: African-Americans. Barack Obama and Andrew Gillum are among those the 2018 senate candidate has talked with in recent days. Read more

Another Democrat gets a 2020 look: Andrew Gillum. Marc Caputo and Alex Thompson / Politico

Even in defeat, Democrat Andrew Gillum is proving to be one of the winners of 2018. The former Tallahassee mayor is parlaying his razor-thin loss in the Florida governor’s race into a role in the 2020 presidential primary — as a kingmaker or perhaps even a candidate himself. Read more

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